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The Post-Nic World

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You have heard the last sign that the world as you know it is changing, as Nic Harcourt is leaving KCRW and the very mellow very capable Jason Bentley is taking over the station's music director chair.

There is no complaint about Nic coming from this quarter, as he has been too good for too long. The last few months may have seen him spinning more music that grates, but longtime listeners know that raising your hackles every now and then with a Polyphonic Spree or somesuch is a perennial part of the Harcourt...mix.

French house and the Buddha Bar series, world rap, haunted offbeat folk, nearly mainstream acts like Coldplay, countless great club acts and weird alternative anomalies like a discovery of what Sparks was up to twenty years after they were famous enabled Harcourt not just to entertain but to provide creative stimulus for art directors and tv and film producers all around town, many of whom simply lifted something Harcourt was spinning for their own project, commercial, video, or full length motion picture---projects which he also occasionally consulted himself.

Of course, the Weekly, which can be really small really often, never cottoned to him much, and I'll be curious to see how they dishonor him when he departs the studio. He has been responsible for making the Weekly's music section way more interesting than the Weekly could have on its own, so my expectations are low.

The fact is that with the atrocity the LA Times has become, and the Weekly doing more chasing than leading, KCRW is the City's leading cultural promoter---a fact ceaselessly borne out by the attendance seen at the events it promotes. Jason, as listeners to his show know, is up to the task, but will bring something different, something that may be---dare we say---more cerebral---he is capable of approaching music not just from the outsider angle, but even from the utterly oblique academic angle. It's a new world, and it looks like another good, refreshing move within it at the House that Ruth sorta built.